“Tusk” – Fleetwood Mac … as depicted in a deleted scene from P.T. Anderson’s “Boogie Nights” (1997)

There’s a brilliant and crucial, nearly 6-minute scene from “Boogie Nights” that was deleted before its theatrical release set to Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” that should be seen by any fan of the film.  In it, Becky Barnett (played by Nicole Ari Parker), the porn actress that got married to a Pep Boys manager, finds her new life outside the industry to be a nightmare of domestic violence, a scene all-too-common when a porn star marries a “civilian.”  The civilian, in question, is turned on by the notion of being with a porn star, but paradoxically, can’t handle that person’s past.  It’s the Madonna-whore complex at its ugliest.  Becky calls on Dirk Diggler (played by Mark Wahlberg) to rescue her, but he’s so far gone on cocaine to be an effective savior for Becky, wrecking his car on the way to saving her.

It’s likely Anderson deleted the scene from the final film because of the film’s overall length (already at over 2.5 hours), but he also mentioned (in the DVD commentary) he thought this was too depressing a scene for a film that has enough dark moments in its last third and that by deleting it, he wanted to give at least one of his characters a happy ending (Becky’s wedding earlier in the film).  While I don’t think the scene’s deletion detracts from the film, its inclusion would have made the final third more powerful, albeit more depressing.  Still, at the end of the scene, there’s no clue what happens to Becky after she confronts her husband.  So … as much as I admire this scene … Anderson probably made the best choice in deleting it.  Given that, it’s still worth seeing.  Please note that this is a very unpleasant scene to watch and is not safe for work or delicate sensibilities.

“Somebody’s Gonna Get their Head Kicked in Tonight” – Fleetwood Mac

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Ironically, most people probably know the punk cover of this by the Rezillos (thanks to its use in “Jackass: The Movie”) more than they know the original by Fleetwood Mac (the pre-Lindsay Buckingham/Stevie Nicks version). However, the original is wonderful psychobilly by a band that’s not known for such things. Somewhere you can hear the Cramps taking notes.

“Oh Well” – Fleetwood Mac

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There was a time in the late 1960s when people turned to Fleetwood Mac because they thought the Rolling Stones were too pop (yes, this was during the “Beggar’s Banquet” / “Let it Bleed” years). Of course, this is ironic, considering that Fleetwood Mac achieved their biggest success by embracing pop in the mid-late 1970s. While “Rumours” is one of the deservedly massively popular albums of all time, I really dig their early blues-purist roots. This is Fleetwood Mac, pre-Stevie Nicks/Lindsey Buckingham/Christine Mcvie. Great hard-edged British blues.